A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORTH RIDGEVILLE
Jeff Sigsworth, President
NORTH RIDGEVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The first permanent settlement in North Ridgeville (originally
called Ridge-ville Township) took place on May 10, 1810, when
14 men from Waterbury, Conn. (mostly members of the Terrell
and Beebe families), together with 3 other men (also relatives)
who had come to nearby Columbia Township in 1809, entered
Ridgeville on foot from the southeast - stopping at present-day
Bainbridge Road, where they soon built the first log building
in the township. Three of these original 17 pioneers were
Revolutionary War veterans; and one, 80-year-old Oliver Terrell,
had been a soldier in the French & Indian War. Several more
settlers and family members arrived later in 1810, including
Mrs. Electa (Wilmot) Terrell - the first pioneer woman living
in this settlement, in the wilderness of Connecticut's Western
Ridgeville Township was divided by five geological ridges
(hence the name), which in prehistoric times were the shorelines
of the receding Lake Erie - created by the slow northward
migration of massive Ice Age glaciers. Wild animals (wolves,
bears, deer, etc.), migratory native American Indians, and
later the New England pioneers, traveled along the higher
sandy ridges - looking for food, water, and shelter. Between
these ridges were the rich swampy (wetland) areas, where dense
forests, wild cranberries and rattle-snakes thrived.
The first log homes in Ridgeville were built along the eastern
end of Center Ridge, and along Butternut Ridge (Lorain Road);
but, as the wetlands were drained and the trees cleared, farms
and cabins or frame homes were estab-lished all over town.
In 1813, the settlement's adult male citizens (15 voters)
approved the creation of Ridgeville Township, which existed
for 145 years. The men of the township joined the Ohio militia,
and served at the Columbia Blockhouse (along with others from
Columbia, Eaton, and Middleburg Townships) during the War
of 1812 - which lasted until 1815. It was said that during
the Battle of Lake Erie (September, 1813), the occupants of
the block-house could hear distinctly the cannon fire between
Perry's victorious fleet and the British forces, near Put-in-Bay.
In 1829, due to frequent mail mix-ups with another Ridgeville
(near Dayton, Ohio), the Postmaster General requested that
we change the name of our post office to "North Ridgeville."
Thereafter, the community around the intersect-ion of Center
Ridge Road (now State Route 113 and U.S. Route 20) and Center
Road or Station Road (later called Avon-Belden Road, State
Route 76, and State Route 83) was known as "Ridgeville Center"
(or North Ridgeville P.O.).
Early churches were established in 1822 on Center Ridge (Presbyterian/
Congregational, now the First Congregational U.C.C.); 1825
on Butternut Ridge (Methodist Episcopal, now called Fields
United Methodist); and 1875 (St. Peter Roman Catholic). Ten
district schools throughout the township were built in the
1850's (replacing the few log buildings constructed earlier).
The first businesses in Ridgeville Township (grist mill, saw
mill, quarries, cheese factories) were later supplemented
by blacksmith shops, general stores and a chair factory. Stagecoach
lines followed Center Ridge and Butternut Ridge from the late
1820's until (or after) the opening of the steam railroad
through Ridgeville in 1853 (for many years known as the Lake
Shore & Michigan Southern R.R., and then the New York Central
R.R.). Two stagecoach inns are still standing. Many German
and English settlers came to Ridgeville in the 1840's and
A small community, "Shawville," complete with general store,
post office, and railroad station, grew up at the Station
Road (Avon-Belden Road) railroad crossing; another community
at Root Road and Butternut Ridge was first called "Briggs'
Corners," and after 1881, "Fields Corners." The Cleveland
& South-western electric interurban (trolley) tracks were
built through Ridgeville Township in 1895 (along the south
side of Center Ridge Road), connecting Cleveland and Ridgeville
with other towns to the west and south - until the system
was finally disbanded in 1931, surpassed by automobiles, trucks,
buses and airplanes.
The predominantly farming nature of Ridgeville Township lasted
through the post-World War II population boom, and the 1958
creation of the Village of North Ridgeville; and past the
1960 organization of the City of North Ridgeville - extending
until the first great "spurt" of the area's growth in the
1960's and 1970's. Now, in the 21st Century, with greatly-increased
population (and automobile traffic), modern streets & highway
access, bridges, schools, and many more industries, businesses
& housing developments, the people of North Ridgeville enjoy
benefits (and challenges) never dreamed of by the 1810 pioneers.